Abstract in English:Abstract The current pandemic has rocked the lives of human beings everywhere in ways never imagined, forcing us to question where our civilization is headed. In this article, we explore and discuss scientific evidence that helps explain recent events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a zoonotic-origin novel virus, SARS-CoV-2, that is genetically close to two coronavirus types isolated in bats. The transmission dynamics to humans from the original and intermediary hosts remain poorly understood, but it is highly likely that the SARS-CoV-2 virus infected humans after undergoing an interspecies transfer from bats to an intermediate species, and from there to human beings. Crossing the species barrier is largely fostered by industrial-scale agricultural practices that simplify original ecosystem connections by reducing biodiversity, facilitating the emergence of new infectious diseases. The scientific community has played an exemplary role in responding to this global emergency, working to find timely, relevant solutions for governments and society as a whole. We need to take this opportunity to promote a global and open science that delves into the interrelationships of the biological, environmental, social and economic dimensions of this and other diseases while questioning current modes of production and their impact on the environment, and thus on human health worldwide.
Abstract in English:Abstract Dr Pastor Castell-Florit’s career in public health spans work at local, national and international levels. In 2016, he received PAHO’s Award for Health Administration in the Americas, for “outstanding leadership and valuable contributions to the management and administration of the Cuban National Health System.” He serves as president of Cuba’s National Council of Scientific Societies in Health, as director of the National School of Public Health, and is a member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences. He has published numerous books and articles on social determinants of health and intersectoral actions to address them, and holds doctorates in science and the health sciences.
Abstract in English:Abstract Dr José Ramón Acosta-Sariego is full professor of basic and preclinical sciences at the Medical University of Havana’s Victoria de Girón Institute, where he also chairs the Scientific Research Ethics Committee. He serves as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of UNESCO’s Latin American and Caribbean Bioethics Network (REDBioética) and in 2020, UNESCO’s Director-General appointed him to its 36-member International Bioethics Committee. Dr Acosta-Sariego has been academic coordinator for the bioethics master’s degree program at the University of Havana since its inception in 2006, is president of the Neuroethics Chapter of the Cuban Neurosciences Society and is a member of the Cuban National Bioethics Committee.
Abstract in English:Abstract Dr Armando De Negri Filho is an epidemiologist whose work has centered on development and maintenance of Brazil’s universal healthcare system. Along with his training in epidemiology, Dr De Negri has a specialty in emergency medicine and a PhD involving research focused on policy, planning, economics and health systems management. In addition to his other responsibilities, he serves as an expert on the right to development for the UN Human Rights Council. He spoke with MEDICC Review from his hometown in Porto Alegre.